Thursday, 31 May 2007
A few years ago I drove around the states with my Irish boyfriend, James. He had been living in the states with me for a couple of years by that time, was fairly acclimatised to the relative distances between places as compared to those you might find here. But as we set out on the first week of our trip, he was adamant that we would leisurely get to Albuquerque, New Mexico in about three days from Georgia. After the third day, we might have been about halfway there. The size of the country, even to people who know it well, is a difficult thing to really accept, or even to just understand.
This is not just a stumbling block for people who want to drive around the country. I believe that the sheer size of the country can make people feel cut off from the unity of the country—from the very things that many people overseas see as the essence of Americans. I think that the size of the country helps to allow Americans to be cut off from its federal government and the federal government from its constituent citizens. The scales are too large—often much larger than we think.